After a 6 game swing through the middle of the country, the Phils will certainly be looking forward to getting that hour back. We’re just going to pretend that that was the reason for the drubbing they took this week. Miguel Cabrera, I mean the Tigers, took 2 of 3 before the Cubs went deep repeatedly and swept the Phils showing them why they are the best team in baseball. Despite the 1-5 swing, the Phils are still only 3.5 out in the East with a chance to make a dent in that this week.
The only good thing to say is that they scored 8 runs in one game. Unfortunately, they score just 10 in the other 5 combined. Odubel Herrera, the teams leading hitter dropped 15 points off his average and for some reason, Ryan Howard is STILL in the lineup and can no longer claim to lead the team in HR’s (now tied with Franco at 8). Tommy Joseph has been playing well and has yet to show any defensive deficiencies. Pete Mackanin has to realize at some point that Howard is just an albatross in the middle of the lineup. The fact that they were held down against pitchers that are not even the Tigers or Cubs top of the rotation guys does not bode well.
This was not the best week for anyone in the rotation. It seemed like balls were flying out of both Comerica and Wrigley at a pretty regular rate this week. Even Aaron Nola, who got the teams only win this week, although his defense didn’t help him out much. Of the 9 runs he’s allowed in his last two outings, only 5 have been earned. Vince Velasquez probably had the toughest week taking a loss in 2 starts. Velasquez surrendered 18 hits and 10 runs (5 HR’s in 8.2 innings of his 2 starts raising his ERA from 2.42 to 3.63 in the process. The pitching staff will need to be stronger in the coming weeks if they want to stay around as the tough stretch that started this week is just the beginning.
Around the N.L. East
Nationals– A 3-4 week against the Mets and Cardinals didn’t help the Nats stretch their lead. The Mets gained a 1/2 game, pulling within 1 game. The Mets took 2 of 3 in a tight series before the Nats split their 4 game set with the Cards. The Nats have yet to show the dominance that many expected this season and have let most of the division hang around. This week could help them gain ground although they’ll have to do it on the road. They’ll open the week with 3 at Citizen’s Bank Park against the struggling Phils then head into Cincy for 3 against the even worse Reds. After the Phils swept them the last time around, they will likely have revenge on their minds.
Mets– The Mets were able to gain ground on the Nats taking 2 of 3 but then failed to get their retribution against Chase Utley and the Dodgers. The Mets dropped 2 of 3 and then MISSED when trying to get payback for his takeout slide in last years playoffs. With the White Sox and Marlins on tap this week, the Mets will be hoping that the Phils can repeat their last effort against the Nationals while they try to put some added distance between them and hte Marlins.
Marlins– The Fish took care of business in their home and home split with the Rays but they struggled against the Braves, who have suddenly found a way to at least beat their division rivals, if no one else. With a 4 game set against the Pirates and then 3 with the Mets, things could go either way this week.
Braves– After their strong weekend against the Phils, the Braves then started off the week by being swept by the Brewers at home. They rebounded against the Marlins by taking 2 of 3. It seems that any games they win this year may just have to come within the division. The Giants will come into Atlanta for 4 before the Braves head to the West Coast to take on the Dodgers then Padres. If I were a Braves fan, I wouldn’t have much hope that their 15 games back number will get smaller this week.
The Phils toughest stretch of the season continues although it will at least take place at home for the next 10 games. The Nats will come into town first for a 3 game set before the Brewers, winners of 5 of their last 6, come in for 4. After a 1-5 week, the Phils will need to turn things around before they start to slide too far off the pace. If they can find a way to repeat their last effort against Nationals, things could get interesting in the East and make Matt Klentak start to look for some offensive pop to help out the pitching staff.